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Comment Re:Good Fix... (Score 1) 460

'Your stocks will be worthless (than any other's) in 23 hours if and only if those said others are allowed to sell sooner than you and *specially* sooner than the buyer's knowledge about the bankrupcy'

No, your stocks will be worthless, period. People won't magically be willing to pay more money for stock in a bankrupt company because they weren't allowed to trade the stock for a while. But this isn't really a great example of why liquidity is necessary, because in this case there's not much that can be done. Market liquidity is necessary to allow risks to be reallocated, and risks need to be reallocated on a regular basis, not just once a day. Just because you could conceivably regulate "official" stock prices doesn't mean you can regulate the instantaneous factors that dictate them -- the cost of oil, local and international politics, the weather, etc.

Comment Re:Good Fix... (Score 1) 460

"Remember that extracting wealth from the markets and transferring it from one account to another is not the same thing as 'profit', because it reduces the wealth available to actual productive investment - the corporate processes which do not and cannot change any faster than the time it takes to gear-up a factory or harvest a crop."

Nonsense. Say the price of oil changes; then all of a sudden all sorts of companies make or lose enormous amounts of money. Same thing with interest rates, the weather, natural disasters, international politics, etc. Here's an exercise for you: go buy stock in a pharmaceutical company that's waiting to get approval of a new drug. On principal, refuse to trade it even after the announcement comes out and the price spikes or plunges. Afterwards, you can give us all a nice lecture on how little you care for market liquidity.

For that matter, how do you determine a fair price to pay for your investments? Do you bring up a spreadsheet, model the company's discounted future earnings, and derive the price you're willing to buy and sell at? Of course not. You rely on the market to let you know what a fair price is. Without a liquid market, you might as well be buying stock from some guy who calls you up on the phone.

Of course, I'm going to guess that you or someone else is going to say, "But I just take the high road -- I invest in indexed mutual funds and don't try to beat the market." But what do you think the fund's traders are doing? Just sitting around all day and not trading? All you're doing is paying someone else to execute those same trades for you.

Comment Re:Because death threats are illegal and a felony (Score 1) 806

Au contraire. True, you can't walk up to a total stranger on the street and say "I'm going to kill you." This is, however, a normal and completely acceptable way to speak to your ex- (or current!) boyfriend, or really anyone you're on a first-name basis with. Nobody would bat an eye if they heard someone say such a thing in public. It appears, however, that school administrators are all send through some kind of indoctrination progress where they're taught that the internet automatically makes everything more sinister.

Comment Re:So.... (Score 1) 493

The point is that, assuming we've got a guy following around Verizon trucks and pretending to be a tech, he's probably gone to the trouble of printing up some random ID card and laminating it. Since you don't even know what a Verizon ID card looks like it wouldn't even take any research on his part -- it'd just be a card with a downloaded Verizon logo on it, a photograph of him, and a fake name, that had been run through a laminating machine.

Comment Re:Designer doesn't understand virtual worlds (Score 1) 64

The client hired the contractor to do some work for him. They had a real-world contract stating that he was to be paid with real money and was to retain full rights to his creations. From a legal standpoint this is no different from doing graphic design for a website, writing a book and selling limited rights to a publisher, etc. If you hire me to make a baseball bat for you and our contract states that I retain copyright to the design, and then you start selling knockoffs of it, you are not going to be successful in a lawsuit by stating that the official baseball rulebook says nothing about copyright. In other words, the rules of a virtual world do not somehow override the rules of the real world.

Comment Re:Doesn't take Karnak the Magnificent... (Score 1) 64

It wasn't Second Life that contracted him to do the work, it was someone with a Second Life account. I don't know anything about Second Life, but context seems to imply that there's no straightforward way to do a local backup of these things, i.e. apparently they can only reside on the Second Life servers. As such, the client did not have the right to delete them, because the creator had some rights to them.

A roughly analogous situation would involve your building a duplex (in real life) and selling half of it to me, and my setting the whole thing on fire one day.

Also, you seem to be confusing "imaginary property" with "intellectual property."

Intellectual property = literature, music, code, etc. Protected by copyright law for centuries in a reasonably well-defined system.

Imaginary property = "I have a property right to the record in the game's database that says that my character has 100,000 gold coins and 75 experience points, and if someone in any way indirectly causes and SQL UPDATE statement that affects that record, it's theft."

Comment Doesn't take Karnak the Magnificent... (Score 4, Insightful) 64

... to see how this thread will go. Soon it'll be flooded with debates about virtual property, whatever that means, and whether you should be able to prosecute someone for murdering your Elf Lord or whatever. The fact is that this guy was commissioned for an artistic project, retained full rights, and then had his property deleted. Take an entirely analogous situation: suppose that Ray Charles -- whose contract stated that he owned the original masters of all his recordings -- goes into a studio to record an album, and the studio subsequently throws said recordings away. Ray would have a pretty solid case, and so does this guy. This case has nothing to do with the MMO aspects of the incident; however, I can solidly say that at least half the population of Slashdot will *make* it about that, somehow.

Comment Re:very disturbing (Score 3, Insightful) 543

When a stranger calls you up and tells you to do something on their authority, and you do it, you're not doing it because you trust him. After all, you don't even know him. You're doing it because you've been taught to take orders from anyone who speaks in complete sentences and has a manager he can put on the phone. These pranks don't erode my trust in other people any more than the thousands of Nigerian scam emails I get each day. They might, however, give me a little more courage to speak up when something doesn't make sense.

Comment Re:very disturbing (Score 1) 543

Precisely. If this guy is able to pull off this kind of crap without any ulterior motive other than his own amusement, imagine what someone actually *trying* to cause serious harm might be able to get away with. Remember, these "stupid" people are the ones who keep society running at a very fundamental level. If they can be convinced to drink strangers' pee and smash their own windows, is it really all *that* hard to imagine that hotel staff might be convinced to hand your room keys to burglars, or that fast food workers might be convinced into inadvertently poisoning their food?

Let's be clear: this has nothing at all to do with trust; it has to do with authority. The pranksters didn't call up and ask for a personal favor; each time they called up and pulled rank, relying on an appearance of professionalism to manipulate people lower in the hierarchy. If it only costs a few thousand dollars of damage here and there to erode the do-what-you're-told-and-don't-think-about-it culture that modern businesses encourage, it will be a bargain.

Unfortunately, these incidents will probably just lead to more training regarding the org chart rather than to an environment in which employees are not actively discouraged from questioning their managers' instructions.

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